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Minnesota State Parks

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Southern Region
Upper Sioux Agency State Park
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Upper Sioux Agency State Park Colorful young trees © Sharon Sannerud
A drive through the Upper Sioux Agency State Park presented us with these lovely colorful trees.
Upper Sioux Agency State Park Prairie Grasses © Sharon Sannerud
I love seeing the many colors of prairie grasses, the trees for accents and hilly landscape
Upper Sioux Agency State Park Minnesota River © Sharon Sannerud
Upper Sioux Agency State Park down along the river bottom. It was a pleasure to enjoy the beauty of the quiet peaceful river.
Upper Sioux Agency State Park Fall Beauty © Sharon Sannerud
The Yellow Medicine River travels through a portion of the Upper Sioux Agency State Park with such beauty with the grasses, river, trees.
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5908 Highway 67
Granite Falls, Minnesota   56241

Phone: 320-564-4777
Toll Free: 888-646-6367
Reservations: 866-857-2757
Email: park email button icon
Upper Sioux Agency State Park contains the site of the Upper Sioux or Yellow Medicine Agency. The park was established in 1963 to preserve and interpret the remains of the old Agency site. The park covers 1,280 acres and offers diversity: open prairie knolls, bluffs, and cool, wooded slopes. From the vistas, visitors enjoy the trails which are ideal for horseback riding, hiking, skiing, and snowmobiling. The park also offers a huge sliding hill for winter fun.
Nature of the Area
The landscape in the park is diverse with grasslands, wetlands, woods, rivers, open prairie knolls, old fields and meadows. Scattered bur oaks are the oldest trees in the park. The Minnesota River flows along the park's northern boundary. The rugged scenic beauty of the river valley can be viewed along the trails and the prairie knolls.

For tens of thousands of years, glaciers advanced, covered and retreated over central Minnesota. These glaciers left several hundred feet of rock, sand and gravel, known as glacial drift, which covered the granite and gneiss bedrock. Upper Sioux Agency State Park sits on a plateau of this glacial drift. When the last glacier retreated, its melt water formed glacial Lake Agassiz in the area which is now the Red River Valley. Melt water in the lake drained south through an already existing river valley forming the glacial River Warren. The valley was cut wider and deeper, in many spots, all the way to bedrock. As Lake Agassiz declined, water no longer drained south. A huge valley with a tiny river was left behind, which is now called the Minnesota River. Starting at Big Stone Lake State Park, the Minnesota River travels over 330 miles of central Minnesota on its way to the Mississippi River at St. Paul.

From the river's bank visitors can fish for walleyes, northerns, catfish, bullheads and carp. Watch for white pelicans and great blue herons along edges of shallow pools. Spotted sandpipers, killdeer and other shore birds frequently hunt for insects on the gravel bars and mud flats along the river. Red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures and white pelicans catch the air currents above the valley. Bald eagles winter in the Minnesota River Valley.

History of the Area
The Treaty of Traverse Des Sioux of 1851 moved the Dakota Indians from Iowa and Minnesota to a reservation 20 miles wide along the Minnesota River Valley extending from Big Stone to Fort Ridgely. The Yellow Medicine Agency was established to administer the terms of the treaty. In the summer of 1862, the Yellow Medicine Agency was destroyed during the U.S.-Dakota Conflict. Today, Upper Sioux Agency State Park exists to preserve the old agency site and provide recreational opportunities in the scenic Minnesota River Valley.
The park offers a variety of boating options for visitors. The Yellow Medicine River and the Minnesota River, which flow through the park, are ideal locations for canoeing or kayaking. However, there aren't any boat rental services available within the park itself so guests must bring their own equipment. Motorized boats can also be used on these rivers but they're subject to certain restrictions due to environmental considerations.
Enjoy fishing in the Yellow Medicine River, home to species like Walleye, Northern Pike and Smallmouth Bass. The park's reservoir also offers opportunities for catching Catfish. For a more peaceful experience, try fly-fishing along its tranquil streams where you might catch Brown Trout.

Upper Sioux Agency State Park offers picnic tables and fire rings, perfect for family gatherings. Grills are also available.
Biking enthusiasts can explore over 18 miles of multi-use trails. Be aware, these paths are shared with horse riders.

The park's terrain varies significantly, offering both challenging hills and flat areas for cyclists to enjoy but be cautious.

Mountain biking is permitted on designated trails only; adhere strictly to this rule for safety reasons.

During winter months, fat tire biking becomes an option though it requires extra caution due to icy conditions.

Remember that helmets are mandatory while cycling within the park premises as a precautionary measure against accidents.

Ensure you carry enough water during your ride since there aren't many refill stations along the routes.
Birdwatchers can enjoy spotting various species like the Red-tailed Hawk, Eastern Bluebird and American Goldfinch. The park offers bird checklists for enthusiasts to use during their visit. There are also several trails ideal for birding, including a self-guided trail with interpretive signs about local wildlife.

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From the town of Granite Falls at the intersection of State Hwy 212 and 23, go south about one block to State Hwy 67. Turn left on 67 and go eight miles to park entrances. The first of the park's three entrances will take you to the horse rider campground. The second entrance takes you to the main park entrance. The last entrance takes you to the campground.

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Minnesota State Parks